Tip Jar: Brian’s Restaurant gets new owner; Nora’s Wine & Cigars to close 

Plus lunch tips, beer flings, foraged foods and new pizza joints

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After a makeover in 2011, Brian’s Restaurant in Ivanhoe Village will expand into an adjacent space currently occupied by Nora’s Wine & Cigars. More exciting is that Karl Elliott, an accomplished chef who trained under Alain Ducasse, is the new owner. In the short term, the menu will stay the same, says Elliott, but look for changes in the coming months. Could a new name be in the works? We’ll have to wait and see.

Nora’s will close at the end of May and is currently looking to relocate in the Ivanhood. In the meantime, Nora is selling off her stock of smokes and libations to fund her search for a new space.

Lunch tip: I typically scoff at buffets, but Sajan Prem’s deftly executed noontime spread at Tabla Bar & Grill can’t be beat. And it’s just $8.

No tablas, but a drum circle will be part of the festivities at Orlando Brewing’s Beers & Beyond Spring Fling Thursday, April 24, from 6-10 p.m. In addition to vendors and artists rooted in mystical and metaphysical pursuits, organic craft beer will help elevate you to an altered state of consciousness. Best of all, it’s free.

Colorado small-batch distillery Spring 44 comes to Cask & Larder Monday, April 21, pairing craft cocktails with a four-course meal. Cost is $65 per person.

If you’re in NYC June 3, snag a ticket to Foraged Along the Way, a dinner at the James Beard House. The event features Kevin Fonzo, Bram Fowler, and Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka cooking a feast prepared from ingredients procured from their trip up the East Coast. Tickets are $130 for JBF members, $170 for the general public.


Pizza openings to report: Mélange, a restaurant serving gourmet pizzas, deli sandwiches and salads, has opened next to Amazonas on South John Young Parkway; Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria has opened its second location in Apopka; Mellow Mushroom has opened a pizzeria in Mount Dora.

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